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U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and a bipartisan group of 31 senators have written to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, applauding her decision to travel to the Middle East. The Senators also expressed their support for her commitment to bold U.S. leadership in the region and working towards a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement.

The text of the letter is below:

February 27, 2009

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
 Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton:
 
We are writing to applaud your decision to travel to Israel and the West Bank next week.  Your trip sends another important signal of the Obama Administration’s seriousness about dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
 
Last month, while announcing Senator Mitchell’s appointment as Special Middle East Peace Envoy, President Obama stated that it “will be the policy of my administration to actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as Israel and its Arab neighbors.”
 
At that same ceremony, you expressed your own commitment to Israel-Palestinian peace, noting that Senator Mitchell’s mission will be to “lead our efforts to reinvigorate the process for achieving peace between Israel and its neighbors… [to] help us to develop an integrated strategy that defends the security of Israel, works to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will result in two states, living side by side in peace and security, and to achieve further agreements to promote peace and security between Israel and its Arab neighbors” and “to support the objectives that the President and I believe are critical and pressing in Gaza, to develop a program for humanitarian aid and eventual reconstruction, working with the Palestinian Authority and Israel on behalf of those objectives.”
 
We commend both you and President Obama for these statements and we urge you to use your upcoming visit to Israel and the West Bank to underscore your personal commitment, and that of President Obama, to Israel’s security and to achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace.  Both are vital U.S. national security interests that must not be neglected.  The continuing launching of rockets from Gaza into Israel, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and the ongoing challenge of formalizing an Israel-Hamas truce, underscore the importance of tenacious American leadership and engagement, now and in the future.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein, United States Senator
Daniel Akaka, United States Senator
Mark Begich, United States Senator
Christopher (Kit) Bond, United States Senator
Sherrod Brown, United States Senator
Richard Burr, United States Senator
Maria Cantwell, United States Senator
Benjamin Cardin, United States Senator
Thomas Carper, United States Senator
Robert Casey, United States Senator
Susan Collins, United States Senator
Thad Cochran, United States Senator
Christopher Dodd, United States Senator
Byron Dorgan, United States Senator
Richard Durbin, United States Senator
Russ Feingold, United States Senator
Tom Harkin, United States Senator
Amy Klobuchar, United States Senator
Mary Landrieu, United States Senator
Frank Lautenberg, United States Senator
Carl Levin, United States Senator
Jeff Merkley, United States Senator
Patty Murray, United States Senator
Ben Nelson, United States Senator
John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, United States Senator
Olympia Snowe, United States Senator
Arlen Specter, United States Senator
Jon Tester, United States Senator
David Vitter, United States Senator
George Voinovich, United States Senator
Sheldon Whitehouse, United States Senator
Ron Wyden, United States Senator


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